Monday, April 30, 2007

Have you no shame, sir!

Christopher Hitchens has a scathing review of george
tenet's book, the kind of review that if Tenet had any shame
he wouldn't show his face in public again after this.

Tenet is one of the dickheads that is coming out now saying
Iraq was none of his fault. Hitchens skewers him with his own
words and his smiling face behind Colin Powell while Powell
presented the evidence at the UN.

I'd go even further with something that I've said before and I'll
say again, if you are in government service or the military
and someone is on a course of action that will hurt the country
the proper response is to RESIGN AND SAY SOMETHING.
Not wait 4 years then write a book that twists history and
what was thought and said back in 2003.
(here's the best hitch:)
In the post-Kuwait-war period, there was little political risk in doing what Tenet had always done and making the worst assumption about anything that Saddam Hussein might even be thinking about. (Who but an abject idiot would ever make a different assumption or grant the Baathists the smallest benefit of the least doubt?) But we forget so soon and so easily. The problem used to be the diametrically opposite one. The whole of our vaunted "intelligence" system completely refused to believe any of the warnings that Saddam Hussein was about to invade and occupy Kuwait in 1990. By the time the menace was taken seriously, the invasion itself was under way. This is why the work of Kenneth Pollack (this time titled The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq) was received with such gravity when it was published in 2002. Pollack had interpreted the signals correctly in 1990—and been ignored—and was arguing that another final round with Saddam was inevitable. His book did more to persuade policy-makers in Washington than anything ever said by Ahmad Chalabi. To revisit these arguments is to be reminded that no thinking person ever felt that the danger posed by a totalitarian and aggressive Iraq was a negligible one. And now comes Tenet, the man who got everything wrong and who ran the agency that couldn't think straight, to ask us to sympathize with his moanings about "Iraq—who, me?"

A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that "hindsight is always 20-20." Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.

We need a new code of conduct for the military and government
service. "I swear, on my honor, that if I don't agree with government
policy I'll resign and go public, not sitting on my GS-25 paycheck
while working on a book deal. If I don't say something when it
could do some good, I agree to keep my stupid puckered face
shut for all time."

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